World’s Strongest Teacher
On my journey as an athlete and strength coach, I’ve always made a point to spend time around inspirational people. Some folks are impressive for their athletic accomplishments. Others inspire me with their character or lifestyle. Only a few can do both. One local Phys. Ed. Teacher/athlete/coach does it all.
Dani Schwalbe is a world class strength athlete. She was a two sport athlete at Boise State University before moving onto the sport of Strongman, where she was able to earn her pro card by capturing her division’s 2015 title of Strongest Woman in The World. Schwalbe is also a pretty great coach. With a degree in physical education, she teaches high school PE, and has experience coaching at the high school and collegiate levels. I feel lucky to say that we’ve been good friends since 2011, and I’ve seen how passionate she is about her pupils. Dani is an even better person than she is a coach or athlete.
I wish I had Ms. Schwalbe for high school gym, too. Her classroom is filled with cool toys. She’s got axle bars, yokes, sleds, atlas stones, and more. She’s even got a DIY contraption outside that’s reminiscent of Conan the Barbarian churning his mill. She lets her students push and pull her truck for fun. It’s a pretty wild, fun atmosphere, and the kids respond. At this alternative school for kids with behavior and learning problems, Ms. Schwalbe is reaching even the kids others have given up on. She preaches that with hard work and self love everything is possible. Schwalbe is “that one teacher” who really makes a difference for a lot of kids.
The most important thing I learned from Dani is the power of conviction. Believing in whatever you’re doing, and having the right motivations, is a powerful tool in accomplishing any goal. In the never ending quest to find and perfect a recipe for winning, I have learned to only pursue the goals I believe in most.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with a case of Adrenal Fatigue, and it could have been prevented. Over the years, I’ve known several athletes and multiple trainers/strength coaches who have experienced the same battle. If we push too hard and don’t pay enough attention to recovery, sleep, and healthy eating, something’s got to give. Adrenal Fatigue is a physiological condition in which your body relies too heavily on adrenaline to function on a daily basis. You may feel more anxious than usual, because of your extended exposure to high levels of adrenaline and insufficient levels of a stress hormone called Cortisol. You’ll also feel a decrease in motivation, have trouble sleeping even when tired (“tired but wired”), and might experience unusual blood sugar swings. So how, exactly, does this happen? More importantly, how can we avoid Adrenal Fatigue or treat it once it has begun? Read More
The number one job of any good strength coach/personal trainer is injury prevention. Keeping your body safe from harm allows you to make progress towards your goals, while living a happy, healthy life.
I got to spend this weekend in Colorado with 6 of the world’s best strength coaches, specializing in training for combat sports. The knowledge and experience in that room was incredible!! These guys have written dozens of successful books and articles, plus coached champions in the UFC, Olympians, and some of the most famous fighters in the world. We got to talk about training and sports psychology, plus learn some new skills in hands-on training.
Over the next week or two, I’ll be sharing some of what I learned on my blog, so check it out!
Today, I want to touch on the theme of the weekend: LESS IS MORE. Whether we’re talking about fighting, or any other sport, strength and conditioning is just one piece of the puzzle. The main focus for any athlete has to be skills/sports specific practice. S&C work should complement those practices, not hinder them. If you’re so sore from lifting weights that you can’t perform in practice, you’re doing something wrong.
Modern, intelligent training should be carefully planned and organized to allow time for recovery. Then, during training sessions, injury prevention and rehab/prehab needs to be priority number one. If you’re not healthy, you can’t get any better!
In combat sports, that means lifting only about twice per week! A fighter expends tons of energy training to fight, so trying to squeeze in additional hours of S&C becomes counterproductive. Start listening to your body and learn when to back off. You’ll be better for it.
Remember as well that you shouldn’t feel exhausted after every training session! Some workouts are designed to train your nervous system, or to affect your body in some way that will not lead to that “smoked” feeling. Trust the process.
If you want to squat to full depth, and you’ve been having trouble getting yourself moving out of that “hole” at the bottom of the squat, this is the video for you. Master this one simple trick for a stronger deep squat.
Squatting past 90* at the knees, and to full depth is always my preference. It allows you to build more overall power, preserves or improves mobility, and there’s less torque on your knees than when changing directions at 90*. If you want to perform the Olympic lifts, you’ll also need the necessary mobility for deep squatting. Plus, when you train your full range of motion, you’ll be able to access strength from any position when you need it in the real world.
Grip training is the secret to next level strength. Check out this video to turn your grip gorilla strong!
This quick tutorial will teach you how to read the notation we use when writing training programs. Whether you’re an online personal training client, purchase a JTP E-book, or you’re just checking out our articles; this will help you follow along without any trouble. This stuff is also pretty common in the world of strength coaches/trainers. If you learn to read our programs, you’ll probably have an easier time reading everyone else’s.
During functional training, we train our body for “movements” instead of focusing on certain “muscles” like a bodybuilder doing biceps curls. Watch this video to learn the proper motor pattern for your pulling movements. Your back will get stronger faster!